My Kingdom for a Parking Spot

Friday, June 30, 2006

No Parking

The detour around 4th Circle has been rerouted to pass behind the Prime Ministry. As I was passing through today, I noticed a nice double-decker parking garage reserved specifically for Prime Ministry staff. So despite the fact that Amman suffers from practically no parking infrastructure, the government can justify their own private lot.

This is not an isolated issue; government officials around the world—civil servants who are employed to act in the best interests of the people—always appear to serve their own interests before serving the interests of their constituents. It’s rare to see a civil servant who suffers with the people. But the reason it bothers me is this: Amman is beginning to face a parking conundrum of epic proportions.

Why does the government allow businesses, commercial centers and apartment buildings to build structures without adequate parking? It seems like the majority of the new buildings are being built practically on top of the street. New(er) stores such as Safeway or Cozmo don’t have enough parking spaces to supply the need. Mecca Mall has had to undergo a new parking garage addition to accommodate vehicle traffic. And the majority of mosques, which can expect a large influx at least once a week, don’t bother with parking areas of any kind.

The problem is exacerbated when traveling downtown where all but the most inaccessible places are designated as “no parking” zones and where ticket-happy police are more than eager to fine helpless violators. Other traffic-heavy areas, such as Shmesani, don’t have enough available parking on the streets to handle the daily infusion of business people, shoppers and diners.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: someone needs to fire the Amman city planner for incompetence and outright stupidity. Something must be done to handle the growing traffic needs in the city! The infrastructure needs some serious revamping. Future solutions must be carefully planned out and implemented and alternative means of transportation should be pursued. I still believe a subway would be a viable solution, but considering the length of time it has taken to complete the new Abdoun bridge and 4th Circle, I’ve all but given up hope.

By the way, where does one pay for accrued parking tickets in this city?

Dumbing Down the Internet

Monday, June 26, 2006


The more time I spend on the Internet, the stronger my conclusions become about one thing: the Internet is a breeding ground for idiots. I’m not referring to people who are simply annoying or are of below average intelligence, but rather complete and total morons.

I’ve never believed in humanity. I do believe that people are worthwhile, but at the same time I’ve come to realize that there are too many people out there who are less than intelligent and far from loving. Nearly everything I’ve seen on the Internet has proven this to be completely true. In short, the Internet is being used and run by every single idiot on the planet.

I present to you the history of the Internet:

  • The first TCP/IP wide area network, NSFNet, is developed by the United States' National Science Foundation as the result of years of work by US government and military agencies. (Al Gore did not create the Internet, although he played a major role in seeing that the internet project was retained under the NSF, as well as promoted and supported the development of the Internet.)
  • Tim Berners-Lee begins developing HTML, HTTP and the first few web pages in 1989.
  • The network gains a public face in 1991, becoming known as the World Wide Web.
  • Prodigy becomes the first of the early-generation dialup services to offer access to the World Wide Web, pioneered the concept of Online Communities, basically in the form of message board which are frequented by computer geeks and enthusiasts (such as yours truly). This is followed shortly by CompuServe, GEnie and other services.
  • America Online (AOL), an Internet Service Provider and company full of idiots, deems the Internet as suitable for all of their idiot friends and family members. AOL creates a graphic user interface (GUI) as a feature of its propriety service, making the Internet widely accessible to idiots all throughout America.
  • As word grows that “this Internet thing is so cool”, more and more people try their hand at creating horrific-looking, useless web pages. It’s only a matter of time before message boards and instant messenger clients are rife with moronic upstarts.
  • L33t sp33k begins to form in underground Internet communities. It eventually mainstreams, creating a release for a generation of people who can’t spell, type, form a coherent statement, use punctuation, have no idea how to use the Caps Lock key or have any knowledge of grammar whatsoever. OMG!!1!! d00d 7H1$ 1NT3RN3T 1$ T3h R0X0RS!1! 1 PWN J00!!1! 1 4M 4 L33T H4X0R!1!!
  • A few decent people take advantage of Internet technology and make the Internet a better, more worthwhile place. Everyone else follows the current shallow trends, ripping off the creativity of the few people who know what they are doing all the while badmouthing all the other idiots in Cyberspace.
  • Due to cheaper, global access , worldwide idiots take over the Internet, meet other compatible idiots on and find some way to meet and procreate, making baby idiots who will eventually follow in their parent’s footsteps and ruin the internet for everyone.

“Gee Dave, I was under the impression that the Internet was getting better.” I tell you, if I see another photo of a kitten on a free photo hosting site, see someone seriously and intentionally type the letters “LOL”, see another blog entry that begins with, “i don't have anything to say…”, and then continues on for another 3 paragraphs whining about life and circumstances all the while using z's instead of s's, I may seriously explode all over my computer screen.

We don’t just let any idiot get into a car and drive down the highway, allowing them to disregard any rules they choose and interact with all the other cars however they want to. No, we make them take a test of skill, intelligence and basic effort. The internet should be the same way. A 13-year-old girl should not be allowed unrestricted access to the World Wide Web. Why? Because she’s most likely an idiot. And if she isn't, she probably hangs out with idiots who are ruining the Internet every day. If she does turn out to be one of a few normal, decent Internet users, then she's more than welcome to surf around but only on one condition: that she doesn't take a million and a half webcam shots of herself in what she thinks are "sexy" poses, because in reality, it goes to show that she's just another idiot who is dumbing down the internet far more than it needs to be.

About the author: Dave is an experienced Internet user that uses the Internet for good and not for idiocy. He doesn’t visit and doesn’t associates with idiots who ruin the web.

Acquired Manners Is Only Half of the Answer

Thursday, June 22, 2006


An editorial in yesterday’s Jordan Times commented about the new traffic barricade system that has been installed in some of Sweifieh’s more perilous intersections. The barricades have been put in place to force drivers to do what they should be doing in the first place—abide by traffic laws and a general sense of road safety and courtesy.

The article goes on to herald Thai behavior, where smoking indoors in public areas is not permitted and enforced by local law enforcement. Traffic laws are also strictly obeyed, with no weaving in and out of lanes and no road rage or ill-mannered behavior.

The article concludes that in order to create such a blissful, harmonious society, establishing good community habits such as educating children on issues as soon as they are old enough to grasp the concepts is necessary.

I’ve never been to Thailand, so I guess I have to give the author the benefit of the doubt. My father has been to Thailand, however, and he was less than impressed with the driving standards. But aside from the issue of whether Thai people are orderly drivers or not, I must take issue with the author’s naive solution. While I agree that good manners, respect, and community habits should be taught, I don’t think that today’s generation will ever be in a position to teach them. After all, one cannot teach what one has not learned. Our self-serving, disorderly society can only be taught by one thing: strict enforcement of the law.

Now I’m not proposing that we authorize the use of force for minor infractions. If someone smokes indoors in a public location, don’t argue with the guy; fine him until it hurts. And here’s a novel idea: rather than having the police in the streets “directing” traffic (and in essence, simply managing—and most of the time, ignoring—idiot drivers who could care less about traffic laws), the police should be allowed to enforce traffic laws by ticketing offenders.

Smoking and bad driving aren’t the only areas of improvement, but they are some of the most visible. Rather than citing a country like Thailand, I present to you ordered nations like England, the Czech Republic, and for the most part, the United States, where citizens have a healthy fear of breaking the law because the police have the cojones to do something about it.

Microsoft Office 2007 Beta

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I’ve never been a huge fan of Microsoft Office. I’ve always hated the mediocre layout, the menu system that makes most advanced features impossible to find, and the proprietary garbage that gets vomited out when publishing any sort of web-based document. I despise the smarmy attitude that Microsoft Office “Power Users” put on, as if they have actually accomplished something great by mastering a lowest common denominator, sub-par software application. Up until now, Microsoft Office was to be avoided at all costs, and only to be used for the most basic projects.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to play with the new Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2, I may be changing my tune. It looks like the Microsoft folks are on the ball this time. They have made a number of critical improvements to the way the suite works which should really streamline the process of generating content.

One of the most improved features in nearly every Office program is a new item that Microsoft has dubbed the “Ribbon”. The Ribbon replaces the menu and toolbars, creating a tabbed interface that puts the most pertinent features in an easy-to-find, prominent location at the top of the screen. Basically, the Ribbon is an extremely enhanced toolbar, but since the word “toolbar” conjures up all sorts of evil thoughts and memories, Microsoft deemed it necessary to come up with a fresh, creative name. Who knows why they call it the Ribbon; perhaps because it is supposed to flow or something. Go figure.

It doesn’t take long to get used to the Ribbon. It’s new, but familiar somehow. It’s almost as if this is how things should have been all along. Hovering over individual functions triggers an Enhanced Tool Tip drop down box that explains more about each function’s use. Some Enhanced Tool Tip boxes even contain a direct link to additional information in the program’s Help feature.

The Ribbon also features Contextual Tabs that are not visible until contextually clicked. For instance, inserting or clicking on an image triggers an Image Tools menu which allows editing, styling and placement of images. The same happens when clicking on a chart in Excel, which triggers a special Chart Tools tab. Non-critical tabs are hidden until actually needed.

Some initial test users have complained about the amount of screen real estate dedicated to the Ribbon. To those people I say, “Buy a bigger monitor, ya tightwad.” The Ribbon is a drastic and welcome improvement to the Microsoft Office suite, so I don’t have much to say about its girth.

Familiar “File” menu options have now been relegated to the new Office Menu, which can be accessed by clicking on the Microsoft Office logo in the top left-hand portion of the screen. Next to the new Office Menu is the Quick Access Toolbar, a customizable little bar with commonly accessed functions.

Microsoft have also added a new Mini Toolbar to the workflow. Highlighting text causes the Mini Toolbar to materialize nearby, which contains frequently used features, such as font choices, sizes, colors and alignment.

While many of these observances are surface level, I have no doubt that there are other additional features that help bring this latest version of Microsoft Office into the modern age. In fact, I’m currently typing this post in Microsoft Word’s new “Create Blog Post” feature.

The only application in the new Office suite that doesn’t seem to have any dramatic changes is Outlook. Unlike the other programs that look fairly decent with the new light blue color scheme, Outlook just tends to come across as downright annoying. The general layout is nearly identical to Outlook 2003, down to the smallest icon. Outlook does not sport the new Ribbon, a feature from which it might otherwise benefit. Outlook does contain a new RSS reader, which can aggregate all of your RSS feeds into an RSS Feeds folder. There is also an enhanced preview option which allows users to open images, spreadsheets, and other attachments natively inside an Outlook preview pane without having to open a separate program.

Microsoft have also offered a beta version of their Windows Desktop Search, which is supposed to dramatically speed up standard content searches. The newest version of Outlook contains a nag feature prodding the installation of the Windows Desktop Search (Microsoft calls it “a reminder”) which turns out not to be such an easy task. Apparently, the Windows Desktop Search has a few issues with the way permissions are set up for certain registry entries. When the installation file runs into one of these locked down registry entries, an error message pops up claiming that access is denied and the installation halts. Microsoft has a “fix” for the issue on their support site, which sends users in a mad hunt through the registry attempting to change permission of specific entries. In my case, the entry that was supposedly causing the problem didn’t even exist.

In the past, minor additions and enhancements have made each “upgrade” of Microsoft Office an optional venture. For the average user, what did it matter if you were running Office 97, Office 2000, or Office 2003? The newest version of Microsoft Office, however, has been dramatically revolutionized so that anyone can become a “Power User”. Up until now, the definition of a Microsoft Office “Power User” was basically a geek who has taken the time to figure out every inane and deeply hidden function of the program. Now Microsoft have brought these functions and features to the surface, which should put those (previously) smug jerks in their place.


Monday, June 19, 2006

The Powers That Be have routed the new 4th Circle detour to run directly in front of our house! This poses a bit of a problem, since the traffic is annoyingly loud and nonstop and I can’t get my car out of the driveway.

Generally the neighborhood is extremely quiet due to the proximity to the Prime Ministry. Now compound the noise and traffic with the extra dust and polution, and I really feel like someone in the government needs to hear from my superior intellect.

Soaring Over Amman

Sunday, June 18, 2006

If you've never had a chance to go gliding with the Royal Jordanian Glider Club, I highly recommend it.

(And yes, we blew a tire on landing, which accounts for the crazy steering and sideways stop at the end.)

Coke Is an Idiot

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

If you've surfed the internet at all during the past couple of weeks, you've probably come across the experiment concerning dropping a piece of Mentos candy into a bottle of Diet Coke. The combination results in a geyser of soda that shoots as high as 20 feet into the air. So in other words, Coke + Mentos = explosive fun.

A recent The Wall Street Journal article describes a fast-growing cultural phenomenon, in which amateur video-makers around the world have taped the explosive results. Mentos, a tiny fruit-flavored candy manufactured by a small Italian-based company, who are also known for their extremely cheesy commercials, says it's "tickled pink" by the phenomenon. According to an article by Rich Smith,
In investigating its popularity, [Mentos owner, Perfetti] has discovered about 800 videos of the chemical reaction posted on the Internet. Perfetti says the free advertising being posted on the Web is probably worth in the neighborhood of $10 million to the company–half of its annual U.S. advertising budget. When Coca-Cola was asked to comment on the science experiment, however, its response was more muted: "It's an entertaining phenomenon…[but] doesn't fit with the brand personality" of Diet Coke.

Now, it's no surprise that mighty Coke, with its $2 billion-per-annum advertising budget, isn't as thrilled as Perfetti is with the pop-goes-the-geyser phenomenon.

Seriously, Coke shouldn't be giving Mentos the cold shoulder here. Coke should be partnering with Perfetti to turn this into The Fad of the Summer of '06, staging performances of the experiment in public parks, and selling not just Mentos and Diet Coke, but other relatives from the firms' respective brand families to enthralled audiences. This is the kind of free, viral marketing that a clever company like Hansen Natural would have been all over months ago. That Coke passes it off with a "pshaw" and a "can't-be-bothered" helps explain why, unlike the Diet Coke-plus-Mentos geysers, Coke's stock has lain flat for five years.
Personally, I prefer Pepsi, and more specifically Mountain Dew.

The Implications of Al-Zarqawi's Death

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An interesting essay by a friend that will remain anonymous.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7 by U.S. forces in Baqubah, Iraq.

For some three years, al-Zarqawi has been the only person affiliated with al Qaeda who has demonstrated the ability to sustain operations in any theater. Other attacks have certainly happened, but their effectiveness has steadily bled away. The July 2005 London bombing not only inflicted a far lower level of devastation than either Spain's March 11 or the U.S. Sept. 11 attacks, but had no appreciable effect on policy.

Al-Zarqawi might not have been a global mastermind, bogged down as he was in the Iraqi theater, but his tactics were geared to a holistic strategy of discrediting U.S. forces and sparking conflict between Iraqi Sunnis and Shia. It was an intellectually sound strategy and, of all the opposing forces that Washington faced in Iraq, al-Zarqawi is the one who most frustrated U.S. aims.

In losing al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda has lost both its biggest headline-grabber and its most effective operative.

But the implications for al Qaeda are nothing compared to the implications for Iraq. Al-Zarqawi and the other jihadists have long been the most effective tool of Iraqi's Sunni community. Whenever negotiations among the Americans, the Shia, the Kurds and the Iranians have threatened to reduce the collective Sunni position, the Sunnis have played the al-Zarqawi card and literally blown something or someone up.

It is the only reliable card that they have had to play, and they have played it often and to great effect. The Sunnis have also known that if their position within the new Iraqi government is to be formalized and cemented, they would have to rein in al-Zarqawi and his jihadist allies. If they do not, there was no deal.

It strikes us as far more than a coincidence that within hours of the confirmation of al-Zarqawi's death, the Iraqi Parliament put the finishing touches on the new Iraqi government. Baghdad now sports an internationally acceptable, domestically chosen government that includes participation from all of the major sectarian groups.

Al-Zarqawi was attacked by two F-16s, each of which dropped a 500-pound bomb, not by a Hellfire missile launched from a Predator drone. Predators are dual intelligence-gathering/assassination tools. Pairs of F-16s are more likely to be used when there is pre-existing intelligence that results in a tasking. U.S. forces selected their weapon very carefully to be low on fragmentation or fire to maximize the chances of the quick recovery of an easily identifiable corpse. Al-Zarqawi was not found, he was sold out. A political deal was made, and the Sunnis have delivered on their end.

The only question remaining is how many other jihadists have 500-pound bombs in their immediate future?

The next steps are simple (compared to the chaos of the past two years). First, with the Iraqi situation seemingly on its way to resolution, the stage is set for a rapprochement between the United States and Iran. This is likely far further along than anyone realizes. The key sticking point in the relationship for the United States is not the nuclear question, but the future of Iraq. Iran, simply put, does not want to be invaded by Iraq again. With a government in place and al-Zarqawi dead, logic dictates that the Americans and the Iranians have already had their meeting of the minds. The rest is punctuation.

Second, international oil companies have been waiting for two things before investing in the Iraqi oil complex: a domestically chosen, internationally acceptable representative government, and an end to the insurgency. The first has happened; the second may finally be in sight.

A Word on the Toot Competition

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Arab blog aggregator, Toot* is hosting a design competition for its community of blogs. The top winners get cool prizes such as a Canon Powershot A530 digital camera, an iPod Nano and gift certificates. What readers are actually supposed to be voting for, however, is kind of unclear.

Are we supposed to vote for design or for content? Upon initial glance, I would assume that we are supposed to vote for the most visually appealing and tightly designed blog. After all, it is called a "design competition" and the following quotes seem to support that direction:
Cast your votes now for the best designed blogs...
...we’re also interested in making sure that this great content is represented in a visually pleasing manner—you know, eye candy!
On the other hand, there are some Toot bloggers out there who have horrifically-designed blogs, but are still begging for votes based on content. After all, according to Toot we are supposed to...
Show the love for the blogs you love!
If we're talking about pure content, Sandmonkey would have my whole-hearted vote. But since we're talking about a contest based purely on design, I guess I'm going to have to alter my selection criteria for designs that are more "visually pleasing" (as the introduction suggests). That being the case, I would go with the following 5 blogs (in order they are displayed on the contest selection page):
  • Sabri Hakim - I have to give credit for an all-CSS design. Things are a bit crowded, however, with not enough white space (or in this case, black space) in between elements. The sidebar isn't consistently floated with the main element and the site suffers from sidebar-itis (too much crap in the sidebar). And I don't like the blinking effect when hovering over links.

  • The Black Iris of Jordan - I have to give Naseem Tarawnah credit for a well-rounded blog. It's not hard to figure out that this guy is Jordanian through and through. The CSS design elements are tight and well-designed, but the site still seems to lack color, making it appear bland at first glance. There is very little visual distinction between the main content and the sidebar, and again we witness another case of sidebar-itis.

  • Tololy's Box - I like the color scheme and creative nature of "The Box". I have to take points away, however, for a table-based design that often fractures depending on the current site content. The gradually fading JavaScript rollovers adds a certain appeal, and this is one blog that doesn't suffer from sidebar-itis. A novel design that still needs a bit of clean-up in order to really work well.

  • Bakkouz - Aside from a few odd design choices, this site could really be a contender. It’s hard to differentiate the links at the top of the page; they tend to blend in a little too well into the background. Remove the brackets and periods around each link, add a solid background, and we’re in business. I also realize that many people want to make money off of their blog, but I really hate Google Ad-Sense ads; they clutter up a page and add absolutely nothing to the design. The dancing strawberry needs to make an exit and the sidebar—as with most other blogs in this line-up—suffers from sidebar-itis. All in all, a well-designed site that needs to be tightened up just a bit.

  • This Arabic site - It’s in Arabic, so I can’t read it, so I can’t really comment on the content value. (Actually, I can read it, but it would take me all day to translate it.) The site has a stark appeal to it and the chick at the top has sexy eyes. A little plain, but well done.
And that’s the wrap. Of course, just as you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a website by design alone. It takes an appealing design and tight prose in order to create a well-rounded site. I’ll have you know that I immediately ruled out any blog that used a traditional Blogger template.

* I know that Toot is supposed to be written in all lowercase letters (as in "toot"), but I don't like that, since it is difficult to differentiate it as a proper name in the common run-on sentance. And just to be a contentious butt head, I also hate the site's name. It's a slang word for "fart" in English.

Curse You, Microsoft

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I've been trying to download Microsoft's public beta 2 for Windows Vista for the past couple of days with no success. I've have downloaded over half of the 3GB file three times over the past several days. It really pisses me off to be around 60% finished with only a couple hours to go, when the connection with the server gets lost due to heavy traffic.

You'd think that a multi-billion dollar company such as Microsoft would have an ample amount of servers available to handle the demand. According to Microsoft's website:
We are experiencing extremely high download demand at this time. The wait time to start the download is very long and many customers may be unable to access the download site.
Extremely high download demand? No kidding! Everyone is dying to see if you've actually developed a decent product or if this is going to suck goose eggs like your other operating systems.

As a solution, Microsoft recommends that users order their beta 2 CD, which can be shipped (for a fee) in a matter of weeks. Oh, great. Now I'm supposed to pay for shipping and wait for over a month in order to get a product which is otherwise available for free on the internet (or is it?). Not to mention that I will be in London for the summer, so if the disk arrives, it will be sitting in my P.O. Box collecting dust until I return.

And while I'm at it, curse you, Wanadoo, as well, for your abismally slow download speeds. I don't care if there is a demand in Jordan or not; just offer the option of something faster than 1MB/s.

Diagnosed with I.E.D.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I was watching CNN the other day as they showcased more of America’s stupidity, when I came across a news clip airing an incident where a man involved in a road rage incident slashed another man with a box knife in Florida. Apparently, the assailant’s lawyers are trying to get him off the hook with the argument that this wasn’t an typical act of road rage. Rather, they claim that the man suffers from a mental condition where there is a problem of sudden, out-of-proportion reactions to everyday hassles, also known as "intermittent explosive disorder".

What the heck? Now every time someone looses their temper and does something extremely stupid, it can be blamed on a biological imbalance? "I'm terribly sorry, your Honor. My chemically-imbalanced body made me do it. I couldn't stop my organs and members from performing that heinous act."

Upon second thought, this might not be a bad idea. I believe I may have been affected by a bit of “intermittent explosive disorder” last week when I was sitting in police-regulated traffic. Ok, and I admit to a bit of “intermittent explosive disorder” when the construction work at 4th Circle ruined the local water pressure, causing me to not be able to fill my tanks last week. And let’s not even mention the fact that the electric company is double-charging me for a bill I already paid. But hey, there’s nothing I can do about it. I have a biological explanation every time my fuse runs short.

Coinage Conundrum

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Have you ever taken a looks at Jordanian coins minted during King Hussein's rule and compared them to the ones more recently minted? There are some date inconsistencies on the reverse sides that I can't figure out.

The most recent coins minted during the Hussein era contain the dates 1416-1996 (in a left-to-right order). Abdullah-era coins, however, contain the dates 1421-2000 (right-to-left order this time).

Can someone explain this to me? 1416? The burning of Jerome of Prague as a heretic, perhaps? 1421? China discovers the North American continent? Commemoration of the death year of Mehmet I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire? The first number might not be a date after all? Jeez, the money should be a bit more self-explanatory.

Stinkin' Hot

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's around 148°C in Jordan (that would be nearly 300°F for you Westerners). Why doesn't anyone around here wear shorts?

An Invitation

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dear King Abdullah,

My wife and I would like to meet your family and my kids would love to play with your kids. I hear that you like to barbecue, so why don’t we get together and grill out sometime? I’ll bring the Mountain Dew.

Dave (An American In Jordan)

Play Ball!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Baseball Player
Take a look at the picture on the right. Go ahead and click on it; it won't bite. Now that you've had a chance to study a larger version of the picture, can you tell me what that guy is wearing on his head? If your answer is "a motorcycle policeman's helmet" you're right and oh so wrong.

One of the things that caught me off guard when I arrived in Jordan was the fact that motorcycle police officers ride around with baseball batting helmets for protection. The first time I saw a police officer perched on the back of his motorcycle wearing a batting helmet, I thought it was a joke. Then I realized that some minor league baseball outfitter in the States probably decided to get rid of surplus helmets at a discount, pulled a fast one and marketed them as motorcycle helmets to the police force in the Jordan.

Every time I see one of those guys riding around in his goofy little helmet, thinking he’s so suave, it makes me want to laugh. I don’t know what’s worse: motorcycle cops that look like they just left batting practice or the other guys who walk around with those Kaiser helmets with back flaps.

Someone here should return the favor and start marketing keffiyehs in the United States as table cloths. Those American consumer saps would probably buy them up at a premium and no one except Arabs would be the wiser.